“Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control.” (Jack Kornfield) Jack Kornfield is an author, Buddhist practitioner, Spirit Rock Meditation Center founding teacher, and one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West.
I love Kornfield’s quote because it so simply and straightforwardly expresses the truth. The belief that we can control things that happen in life is a futile illusion that we allow to drive us to frustration and, in some cases, to despair. It is only through letting go of that illusion of control and focusing instead on how we react to, or recover from, the things that happen to and around us that we can truly be at peace.
Some people don’t like the use of the word surrender. They equate it to giving up, to quitting, to being a loser. There is an old comedy routine where a man goes to his doctor and, twisting his arm back and forth, says,” Doc it hurts when I do this, what can I do?” The Doctor looks at him and says, “Stop doing that.”
Well, if your attempts to control things in life have continually failed, stop doing that. It was all an illusion anyway. If instead you surrender to God’s will by saying the little prayer, “Not my will but thy will be done”, you are only surrendering the illusion that you were in control. You will find an immediate sense of relief and calm if you surrender your life to God’s will and God’s peace will descend upon you.
But, you may say, “I feel like I’m giving up and failing somehow.” Well, you are giving up a futile effort, but you should feel good about that. Plus, it is not really a failure if you did not achieve something that was not possible to begin with; however, you may need to forgive yourself for taking so long to come to the right conclusion to put your trust in God.
Surrender the illusion. Let God be in control. Achieve peace in your time.